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WITCHCRAFT

PART ONE: Prepared by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Ann Gray from The John Ankerberg Show website article: “Harry Potter Lures Kids to Witchcraft with Praise from Christian Leaders” By: Berit Kjos; ©1999    

Might Harry Potter seem as real as life to his young fans around the world? Do children accept Harry’s lessons in practical witchcraft as an open door to an occult reality? Many Christian leaders have denied any such danger, but author J.K. Rowling admits that this happens. In an interview with Newsweek’s Malcolm Jones, she said, “I get letters from children addressed to Professor Dumbledore [headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the books’ setting], and it’s not a joke, begging to be let into Hogwarts, and some of them are really sad. They want it to be true so badly, so they’ve convinced themselves it’s true.”

  • “I was eager to get to Hogwarts first because I like what they learned there and I want to be a witch.” Gioia Bishop, age 10.
  • “I like the third book because he meets his godfather and Professor Lupin, a really cool guy [This really “cool guy” is a shape-shifter who turns into a werewolf].” Harry Libarle, age 7.

The Pagan Federation appointed a youth officer to deal with a flood of inquiries following the success of popular forms of occult entertainment which “have fueled a rapidly growing interest in witchcraft among children. It is quite probably linked to things like Harry Potter, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” explains the Federation’s media officer, Andy Norfolk. “They encourage an interest in magic as harmless fun,” he warns. “For some young people it could fuel a fascination that leads to dangerous dabbling with occult powers. What begins as spooks and spells can lead to psychological and spiritual damage.”

Almost a decade ago, a Wiccan student wrote about witchcraft in a promotional article for The Talon, her high school newspaper. The student based her conclusions on interviews with several other student witches at Los Altos High School in California. She boasted that her religion was more tolerant than traditional beliefs, taught people to take better care of the environment, helped people to empower themselves, and only used “good” magic.

Soon afterwards, a Christian student, also an editor for The Talon, asked if he could write about Young Life, a Christian group active on their campus. “No,” was the response, “because witchcraft is underexposed in our society, and Christianity is overexposed.” Witches could give public testimonies about benefits of their religion, but Christians were no longer allowed to express their faith and testimonies.

Today’s pagan movement is attractive to anyone disillusioned by unfriendly churches. It entices seekers by showing the “light” side of occultism. Christianity simply doesn’t fit, and Mr. Norfolk of the Pagan Federation thinks he knows why. The Christian Church has failed to provide “the right degree of spirituality for young people,” he explains. In contrast, paganism involves “direct communication with the divine.” With help from television, books, movies, and other media, Christianity’s reputation has been badly smeared. Blamed for hatred, conflict, wars environmental abuse, it has inspired countless “Christian” leaders to re-imagine their faith and embrace a more “tolerant” view toward the world’s fast-growing fascination with pagan practices.

A recent report in Christianity Today seems to base its approval of Harry Potter, not on the Bible, but on popular consensus among seven admired Christian leaders. One scholar concludes that Harry Potter stories promote “a kind of spiritual warfare . . . a struggle between good and evil. . . . There is in books like this the possibility for serious moral reflection [and] the question of what to do with magic powers is explored in an appropriate and morally serious way.”  

God’s standards would hardly win a popularity contest today. Popular versions of Christianity have wisely rejected some of the stiff legalism of the past, but it has also tossed out God’s much-needed guidelines and warnings. The result is license to do almost anything that feels good. Christians who refuse to compromise are often demeaned as old-fashioned kill-joys who bring reproof and embarrassment to those who fear offending the world with the whole truth of the gospel. That’s why Jesus warned us in John 15:18-21,

God gave us His Word that we might know Him. The Bible reveals His heart, will, and ways. His words make no sense from a Biblical perspective. Magic is “an abomination” to God. Books written from an occult perspective cannot explore magic powers in “an appropriate and morally serious way”—without redefining the word moral and rejecting the Bible. A setting that approves occultism will turn God’s values upside down. The message of Isaiah 5:20 is timeless:

Good does not—cannot—mix with bad, but not because “good” motives are always “good,” even in a pagan context. God’s good is corrupted when adapted to a pagan setting. In fact, God doesn’t want what He considers good to be linked to the occult. He sends us out to pagans to share His love, but we cannot delight in what He calls evil. God shows us His reason in a most politically incorrect message in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17.

Without a firm foundation in Biblical truth, they have little resistance to her seductive call. And since older children have been thoroughly immersed in the multicultural world view in their public schools, they are likely to prefer paganism to Christianity. From the world’s perspective, why shouldn’t they? Why not follow the crowd and seek a new consensus in the name of peace and unity? After all, “paganism is recognized as a valid religion,” says Mr. Norfolk. He sees no reason why parents should be alarmed by their children’s sudden interest in magic.

Nor did a spokesman from the Roman Catholic Church. “I haven’t heard anything within the Catholic religion that suggests this is anything to be concerned about,” he said. Remember, this is spiritual warfare. God’s enemy fights as hard as ever to win the hearts and loyalties of our children—and he has added all kinds of high-tech tools to his armory. To resist his strategies, they first need to understand the Biblical world view. That’s why God told His people in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 to base all conversation—day and night—on His unchanging truth.

Everything we say must reflect the reality of God, His love and sovereignty, His promises and His warnings. To prove that our God is far greater than the pantheon of alternatives, our lives must demonstrate faith in the midst of difficulties and His triumph in the midst of turmoil. This is possible, not by our own strength, but by His power and grace. Then, seeing His greatness, children learn to trust His promises.

Contemporary witches that I have met are sincere, often compassionate, usually well educated, and frustrated with today’s rampant materialism. Few look evil. Instead, they demonstrate God’s warning in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15,

Many of the younger generation of pagans dabble in black magic and other “dark arts” that are so seductively taught at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Apart from the fantasy setting and dramatic demonstrations of magic, there is little difference between Harry’s skills and the real world of the occult. Harry and his friends may show loyalty to each other and courage in the face of danger. But they also lie and steal. Would you call that a moral world? Stealing, lies, hate, revenge, and even murder are presented in a complete absence of moral conflict. Lying exists, of course, in the plots of many children’s books, but there is normally an at least tacit recognition that lying is a moral problem of some sort.

It’s time for serious Christians to “count the cost” and be ready to stand uncompromisingly strong in the Truth God has given us. The armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) begins and ends with the power of His Word. First, we put on the belt of Truth which holds all the other pieces—His righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation—in place. The last part, “the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,” is simply His truth and promises memorized, remembered, and affirmed as we face each day’s challenge. This two-edged sword is our main weapon in every battle. It exposes lies, uncovers deceptions, strengthens our faith, and lifts our hearts.   To those who love God, it brings the hope, strength, joy and perseverance needed to walk with Him in peace no matter what happens. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Remember God’s definition of wisdom:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The fear of the Lord involves a sober awareness of what He loves, of what He despises, and of the consequences of disobedience and rebellion against Him. It leads to a sincere desire to please Him, heartfelt gratefulness for His mercy, and unending delight in His loving presence. So when we choose to “fear the Lord” we will heed Romans 12:9, Children who delight in Harry’s occult world of spells and magic will naturally learn to enjoy evil and crave more. But they cannot “cling to what is good” while they love evil. The two are incompatible.

PART TWO: Prepared by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Ann Gray

All followers of Jehovah were governed by His Law. (Leviticus 20:7-8) Scripture tells us that this command continued to apply to the New Testament Church as Peter reminded Christians in 1 Peter 1:15-16.

God has a very clear position about the occult: His people are forbidden to be involved. Here are a few examples of His commands.

  • Exodus 22:18--Do not allow a witch/sorceress to live.
  • Leviticus 19:26, 31--Do not practice divination or sorcery. Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.
  • Leviticus 20:6--I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.
  • Deuteronomy 18:9-12--When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD.
  • Ezekiel 13:20--Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms.
  • Galatians 5:19-21--The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Revelation 22:15-16--Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.

Some of Jesus’ miracles involved occult occurrences. The apostles also found themselves in similar situations. They were confronted in Samaria by Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24); on Cyprus by Elymas/Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:8-12); by a slave girl at Philippi (Acts 16:16-18); at Ephesus by charlatan Jews (Acts 19:13) and by seven sons of Chief Priest Sceva (Acts 19:14-17). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they challenged the spirits and false teachers.

True, they were beaten and imprisoned for their actions defending the Truth. But a proconsul on Cyprus and a jailer and his family at Philippi believed and were baptized. Acts 8:13 says that Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

Luke reports in Acts 19:18-20 that in Ephesus Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.
A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power
.  [NOTE: One drachma was a silver coin worth about a day’s wages.]

Jesus also predicted that occultism would continue and eventually be one of the signs of the end times. We read His words in Matthew 24:24. And Paul offers a further reminder in 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

Remember: Harry Potter is Witchcraft Repackaged, making evil look innocent!

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on. I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You. In Your name I pray, Amen.